People are hoping to change the world through technology. With 2.4 billion people in 2012 having access to the Internet there is an advantage for activist to take to technology. Activist use digital technology (blogs, micro-blogs, SMS, websites, social networks, video, etc.) to: shape the public opinion, plan an action, protect other activists, share a call to action, take action digitally, and to transfer resources.
“The 6 Activist Functions of Digital Tech” article says, “Anyone with an Internet connection can start a blog. Anyone with a smartphone can record and upload a video of police abuse. Not only can people act as citizen journalists, creating their own news stories, they can also educate and raise awareness of injustice by curating and re-broadcasting news stories to their friends using whatever social media platform they prefer, or even an old-fashioned technology like email.”
When I thought of researching activists I thought of a crowd of people sitting outside a building with picket signs and starting riots, but today we don’t see much of this scenario. All todays activist have to do is click the mouse or press enter and it quickly soars through technology for millions of internet users to see. “The New Face of Teen Activism” article says, “With an estimated two in five young adults engaging with social issues online, we’ve entered into the age of digital activism, where grassroots movements are created through tweets, reblogs, likes, and status updates. Though some critics derisively refer to it as “slacktivism,”this new wave is proving how logging on can seriously impact your community—and the world.” With Twitter all you have to write is 140 characters and it can reach thousands of users across the globe.
I think this is somewhat scary information to wrap your head around because no matter what you post on social media someone will see it. Just as quickly as you delete what you just wrote someone can screenshot it and use it against you. Social media can be used negatively. I’ve seen this in the high school setting quite a bit and there’s been a lot of suicides based on what was shared on social media.
Once I’m a teacher it will be important to teach my students what an incredible tool technology can be if used in a positive way. Marc Prensky wrote, “Technology gives kids power that people their age have never had. Let’s help them use it wisely.” Student can be shown how to stand up against bullying, bring awareness to those who suffer from mental illnesses, or they can inspire others to believe in themselves by using Twitter, Facebook, or blogs.
I’ve never participated as a digital activist and when on my social media accounts I don’t see many users participating as an activist. I think activism is effective in both positive and negative scenarios. If I was an activist I would like to bring more attention to bullying and what just a few words can do to a person that end up in suicide. I’m very passionate about suicide prevention.